Indiana Attorney General Argues That Gay Parents Shouldn’t Be Listed On Child’s Birth Certificates

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill has made clear that he is opposed to gay parents being listed on birth certificates.

Hill is proposing that the Supreme Court reverses an appeals court decision that allows same-sex couples to appear on a child’s birth certificate.

USA Today reports that the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals made a decision in January that affirmed that it was unconstitutional to prevent same-sex parents from having legal ownership of their children. AG Hill filed a petition in June to counter the ruling.

The decision to list both individuals in a same-sex union on the birth certificate stems from a 2015 case involving Ashlee and Ruby Henderson, a gay married couple from Lafayette, Indiana.

Ruby conceived their child through artificial insemination, but when officials refused to name both women as parents on the birth certificate, the Hendersons sued Indiana’s health commissioner and various officials in Tippecanoe County. In 2016, they won their initial case, and seven other couples ultimately joined the suit as plaintiffs after Indiana appealed up to the 7th Circuit.

According to Indiana law, “a husband is presumed to be a child’s biological father so that both spouses are listed as parents on the birth certificate, and the child is deemed to be born in wedlock.”

“There’s no similar presumption with respect to an all-female married couple—or for that matter an all-male married couple,” wrote the judges. They added that both Ashlee and Ruby should be listed as parents on their child’s birth certificate to prevent any confusion, financial strain, and discrimination.

But Hill disagrees. He argues, “A birth mother’s wife will never be the biological father of the child, meaning that, whenever a birth-mother’s wife gains presumptive ‘parentage’ status, a biological father’s rights and obligations to the child have necessarily been undermined without proper adjudication.”

Hendersons’ attorney, Karen Celestino-Horseman, told NBC that Hill’s petition will be discussed during a Dec. 11 conference.

Celestino-Horseman said, “We are hopeful the court will follow the precedent in ‘Pavan,'” referring to the high court’s 2017 ruling in the Pavan v. Smith case out of Arkansas. The case was centered on a married couple who conceived through artificial insemination. The Supreme Court ruled that the “constellation of benefits that the States have linked to marriage” extends to same-sex parents being listed on the birth certificate, the report states.


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